Steel framing of the new Morse High School in Bath is a highlight this year as Regional School Unit 1 returns from summer break. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

BATH — With the steel skeleton of the new Morse High School due to be completed by November, the road to a planned January 2021 opening seems that much shorter.

It’s an exciting project for Regional School Unit 1 as students go back to school next month, and a “topping off” ceremony is to be held once the final piece of steel is placed, Superintendent Patrick Manuel said Aug. 15. Drywall and interior work will proceed through the winter.

“Everything’s on time and on budget right now,” Manuel noted. “… It’s going up quickly.”

Meanwhile, tours will be offered this fall to various local groups, and the district will begin making decisions regarding furniture, interior colors and signage.

The first day of school for students in kindergarten through grade nine is Tuesday, Sept. 3. Grades 10-12 follow the next day.

RSU 1 has about 30 new staff members this year, although the entire administrative team remains the same, Manuel said. The electricity program at the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center is back for the first time in about two years, and two additional days a week are budgeted this year to expand an English as a Second Language teaching position to full time, addressing a growing population that needs instructing.

One day per week for an outdoor classroom at Phippsburg Elementary School is also in the budget, and Morse’s music program is being enhanced so a high school musical can be produced.

A part-time communications and public relations employee is new to the staff, and $160,000 is being spent on literacy materials for the reading curriculum in kindergarten to grade 5.

Staff positions have been shifted in order to create a behavior interventionist at the Dike Newell elementary school, and an academic interventionist at the Fisher Mitchell elementary school.

Two new Advanced Placement courses are being offered at Morse: computer science and seminar. “The following year we’ll add Advanced Placement Research, so then students from Morse High School, if they take the number of (AP) offerings, they can graduate with an AP diploma, which is fairly unique (and) impressive,” Manuel explained.

He said adding AP courses does not require RSU 1 to employ additional instructors, but calls for current teachers being sent to training in order to run the classes.

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